RNC chairman Michael Steele issued the follownig statement Friday:
“President Obama campaigned as a moderate yet he and Congressional Democrats are pushing our nation further and faster to the left than voters bargained for.
The next Supreme Court justice will hold a lifetime appointment, and the president should take his time and search for a nominee whose legal views are consistent with and reflective of mainstream America. He should not use this as an opportunity to impose his liberal legacy on America or give political payback to the far left of his party by nominating someone who makes judicial decisions through an ideological rather than legal lens.
Republicans will reserve judgment until the president makes an appointment.”
The U.S. declared a public health emergency after hundreds of cases of the H1N1 flu sprung up around the world. The virus has been linked to more than 150 deaths in Mexico and health officials are encouraging people to take standard precautions such as frequent hand washing and avoiding work or school if ill. But many people report still feeling confused about what exactly to do.
What more would you like to know about the flu outbreak? Are you satisfied with the government’s response?
Now is your chance to ask questions to two members of President Obama’s cabinet. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will speak with John King on CNN’s “State of the Union” this Sunday.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Justice David Souter announced he will retire from the Supreme Court, after informing the White House Friday of his plans.
May 1, 2009
Dear Mr. President:
When the Supreme Court rises for the summer recess this year, I intend to retire from active service as a Justice, under provisions of 28 US.C section 371 (b) (1), having attained the age and met the service requirements of subsection (c) of that section. I mean to continue to render substantial judicial service as an Associate Justice.
s/ David Souter
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama expressed "alarm about the growing number of journalists silenced" in a statement released Friday, maintaining that he was especially concerned over the recent detention of U.S. journalists Roxana Saberi in Iran and Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea.
"Even as the world recognizes the central and indisputable importance of press freedom, journalists find themselves in frequent peril," the president said in a White House release. "I lend my voice of support and admiration to all those brave men and women of the press who labor to expose truth and enhance accountability around the world."
President Obama also acknowledged the responsibility of journalists while recognizing World Press Freedom Day, celebrated May 3.
"It is a day in which we celebrate the indispensable role played by journalists in exposing abuses of power, while we sound the alarm about the growing number of journalists silenced by death or jail as they attempt to bring daily news to the public," the president said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - There are few issues that rally conservatives as much as a Supreme Court nomination - and activists are wasting no time gearing up for a battle.
Conservative groups worked into the night Thursday after news broke of Justice David Souter’s retirement to arrange a conference call early Friday morning to talk strategy with representatives of more than 60 groups.
Leaders on the call, such as Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, told colleagues that one of their first challenges is convincing activists there is a fight to be had.
"One thing to keep in mind is that the left and media will say this doesn't really matter - Obama will just replace a liberal with a liberal,” Long said. “It's a conservative court. We need to push back against that immediately.”
Curt Levy, also of the Judicial Confirmation Network, argued to the nearly 200 activists on the conference call that this can "be a winning issue" for conservatives if they focus on what he called the "right issues" such as same sex marriage, death penalty and the Second Amendment - issues that can split Democrats.
As the debate about torture rages on in Washington — with calls for investigations of the Bush administration — here’s a perhaps surprising nugget about how Americans view torture of suspected terrorists.
Turns out the more often people go to church, the more likely they are to support torture — that’s according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
The poll finds that of more than half of Americans who attend church services at least once a week, 54 percent say the use of torture is often or sometimes justified.
Only 42 percent of people who seldom or never go to church agree…
To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Arlen Specter, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee until he defected to the Democratic Party, said he would like to see President Obama choose a woman to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter.
"I think another female justice would be a good idea," Specter said at a press conference in Philadelphia on Friday. "I think that given the proportion women in our society, 1 out of 9 is underrepresented. But the court could use some diversity along a number of lines."
Specter said he would like to see Obama consider African American, Hispanic and female candidates to provide more diversity on the nation's highest court. He said he is looking for a nominee with a good education, strong professional experience and "a determination to follow the Constitution and to follow statutes enacted by Congress and not to take upon himself or herself to make new laws."
"I have never had a litmus test, Specter said. "I have supported very conservative nominees like Justice Scalia and very liberal nominees like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I think that's the way it ought to be handled."
Specter also addressed the reaction by Republicans to his decision to leave the party, saying that they have been "universally understanding." He has said that he will return campaign contributions to donors upon request, but that he has already made out checks to return money to his Republican colleagues.
Specter said he is "prepared to run against all competition" in the primary and reiterated that "the polls showed how bleak it was, so that was a very major factor" in his decision to run for reelection as a Democrat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Judge Diane Wood, Judge Jose Cabranes - the list of possible nominees to replace Supreme Court Justice David Souter is growing by the hour.
CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears called on his extensive sources from the Court, legal community and political world to help compile a list of potential names that President Obama might be considering.
Listen: CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears runs down the possible picks
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, would serve as an adviser to President Obama on the Supreme Court vetting process, but he would not "lead" the vetting team, a White House aide told CNN.
"If there were to become a vacancy, the vice president's role would be as an advisor to the president," the aide said. "As a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he brings a lot of experience and knowledge of how this process works on the Hill – but reports he's leading or would be leading a 'vetting team' etc aren't true."
Listen: 44 with Ed Henry
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A day before news broke that Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to announce his retirement, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrote President Obama a letter encouraging him to consider a "qualified Hispanic legal professional" if there was a vacancy on the nation's highest court.
CNN obtained the letter Friday.
Click here to read the letter to Obama.